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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. How does the congregation react to Orville's inability to speak in tongues in Chapter 14?
2. What has Eliades been asking Ann Maitland about James in Chapter 10?
3. What are James and Ann doing at the end of Chapter 13?
4. Who is Andahl?
5. What news does Ann Maitland give James when she has dinner with James in the beginning of Chapter 13?
Short Essay Questions
1. What does James Axton learn in Bombay early in Chapter 11?
2. Where is Volterra in his planning for the cult film at the end of Chapter 8?
3. What unfortunate occurrence happens to David Keller in Chapter 13?
4. How does James learn the truth behind the CIA in Chapter 13?
5. How does James seduce Janet Ruffing at the end of Chapter 9?
6. What transpires during James' evening with Del Nearing in Chapter 10?
7. What traumatic experience happens to Orville Benton in Chapter 14?
8. Describe the political argument that James and Eliades have in Chapter 10.
9. How does James find a new sense of comfortable stasis at the end of the novel?
10. What unsettling information does Ann Maitland tell James in Chapter 10?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Write an essay about the relationship between James and Tap Axton. What do father and son do together throughout the novel, and how does the impending divorce affect this activity? What habits does Tap have that alienate him from James? Discuss whether DeLillo paints a picture of a father and son relationship that seems strong in any way. What other character seems more like a father figure to Tap?
Essay Topic 2
A central theme of Don DeLillo's The Names is the mystical and broad meaning of language. In this novel, language and words not only contain meaning but also a sort of divine truth. Write an essay in three parts about the way DeLillo deals with truth in the novel:
Part 1) Owen Brademas is the major character with the most passionate connection to language in the novel. Discuss what influences in his life, beginning with his childhood, have contributed to this connection. What does he want to do with his life, and how do words become part of this? What is the purpose of ancient words, in his viewpoint?
Part 2) Midway through the novel, the mysterious Vosdanik explains the significance of words to the mysterious cult. Describe the role of language to the lonely men of the desert. Why are they obsessed with them? Historically, what has been the significance of words to spiritual acolytes?
Part 3) What is the methodology of the language cult? Why do they commit their murders? What divine extreme are they reaching for? Citing the words of Vosdanik, Andahl, and Singh, discuss the meaning of the cult in the world of the novel. Are they the touchstone of love of language in The Names?
Essay Topic 3
Write an essay about the marriage and separation of James and Kathryn Axton. How did their marriage affect each others individual life and goals? What state is the marriage in when the novel begins, and how did it reach this point? Discuss how Kathryn and James' personalities and lifestyles change after the separation. What idiosyncrasies are revealed as a result? What finally breaks the marriage apart for good, and how does the veneer of cordiality disappear as a result?
This section contains 1,239 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)